Shaler students design driverless cars in STEAM competition
Shaler Area SD’s annual STEAM Competition attracts schools from across the region and challenges students’ knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Shaler Area high school teachers design each challenge to incorporate multiple aspects of STEAM and require students to work collaboratively in teams of five. Competitors are given the challenges the day of the competition. This year, 11 teams from 10 school districts in Allegheny and Washington counties competed in a series of four on-site challenges and one off-site challenge. On-site tasks included creating a red-light intersection/train-crossing scene out of provided materials and a Hummingbird Robotics Kit; design and build a personal flotation device to keep a 1 kg mass afloat; complete a solubility puzzle; create a Keith Haring-inspired thermography portrait. The off-site project was inspired by recent advancements in driverless car technology, and challenged students to build a vehicle that would be controlled by a driver who cannot see when maneuvering through an obstacle course that included stopping for road hazards, moving in reverse, parallel parking and maneuver a specific turning radius.